John Tolley, July 9, 2017
The 14 universities of the Big Ten Conference are home to some of the finest museums, special collections and libraries in the nation. From musical oddities to ancient artifacts, the B1G Museums series is your carefully curated guide to the archives and exhibits, great and small, which help make these universities outstanding. Join us as we journey across 14 campuses and inside the institutions that make us so proud to LiveB1G
Great Plains Art Museum
What comes to mind when you think of the Great Plains of the American West? Vast openness? Fertile fields that stretch on towards the horizon? Simple rural living?
What about a vibrant hub of art that is steeped in a rich and complicated history?
At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Great Plains Art Museum is dedicated to preserving the past and showcasing the future of the arts in the vast region.
In its galleries are works by Remington, Bierstadt, Russell and Weighorst, names that have come to define the sweeping and grandiose art of the west, their vivid canvases and rugged sculptures capturing the hardscrabble nature of the frontier.
Also featured are the works by Grant Wood, whose profoundly Regionalist paintings evoke a bygone era of agrarian simplicity and stoicism.
The museum, part of the University's Center for Great Plains Studies, was founded in 1981 through a donation by Nebraska residents John and Elizabeth Christlieb. Their large collection of western art, including sculpture, photographs and painting, along with a library of western Americana forms the core of the museum's galleries.
Today, the Great Plains Art Museum has 12 permanent collections of art and literature. They also host a number of touring exhibits, such as photographer Kate Schneider's We, The Heartland, which depicts the construction and impact of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Beyond traditional mediums, the museum has a history of showcasing an art form that is particularly Midwestern: quilting. Two years ago, LiveBIG featured Gwen Westerman, the museum's artist-in-residence at the time, who incorporates the language and history of the Dakota people into her large quilts.
The museum is open to the public five days a week and admission is free. Information on current and upcoming exhibits can be found here.